2-Min. Dog Trainer – early December chores

Bud’s been out of town doing his judging assignment, attending the NADAC judging clinic, and currently being tested on his NADAC judging skills in Oklahoma.

It’s been an interesting week here and I’m pressing forward on several fronts.

1) Our holiday open house and cookie exchange is next Saturday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. (Dec.12). 

I actually established this party deadline to force myself to decorate the house for Christmas.  It’s too easy to forego holiday decorations when you work at home. I’ll say to myself, “who am I decorating for?” But then, in late December, with no decorations to lend a festive spirit to the least-light days of the year, the absense of glitter is a bit depressing.

With all the disruptions to my family in the past 3 years we’ll not be hosting the big Martin family get-togethers I envisioned when we moved back home and bought this place but I need to get over that and move on. So I’m decorating.

I’ve got a big tree in the living room with every available piece of tinsel I had (and I had a lot — did I say I’m a magpie?) and a small tree in the bedroom where it can be seen down the long hallway from the dining room. I’ve got 2 trees on the deck with old sleds and wagons stacked nearby. Mom and I hung garland and bows from the deck railing. Even the poop-bag rack has wreaths on it. <g>

Sometime this week I’ll be paying a visit to Mom’s American Holly tree and hacking away enough branches to drape the upper hall railing and the kitchen.

Sidebar — I’ve wanted a holly tree of my own for many years but Bud hates the prickly leaves and the mess they may. Also it’s difficult to transplant the tiny holly trees that spring up under the mother tree. If air touches their roots the little tree will die. And you can’t just plant the seeds — I’m thinking they have to pass through a cedar waxwing to become trees. Also, you actually need a male and a female for the female to bear the red berries, so you need to transplant a lot of little holly trees to get the one you want for the future. So I’ve come up with a plan. I’m going to line with plastic and fill 5-6 medium-sized pots with soil and set them strategically around the seed-drop-zone of Mom’s holly tree. If and when seedlings pop up in these pots I’ll remove them and plant the entire ball of soil. I’ll watch these youngsters and thin them to get the one male and one female I need. Well, that’s the plan anyway. Someone reading this will probably comment on the error of my thinking — my readers are a well-educated and brilliant group — but we’ll see ….

2) Our early-bird discount on 2010 camp registrations ($50 off !!) is  Dec.15, 2009. 

Our mailing for 2010 camp registrations didn’t go out until November 1st, so folks have had just 45 days to put together their camp plans for 2010.

And, like Bud and I, our campers have been busy with other things for the first 30 of those 45 days.

Beginning December 1 I’ve had several requests for spring 2010 dates for private camps and breed-specific camps. Our vision, when we created this dog training resort, was of a group of friends traveling together, sharing cottages, supporting each other in their training efforts, and making an annual event of their agility vacation. I’m convinced our vision has merit in today’s busy world.

In the meantime, most private camp coordinators are choosing a traditional camp format with group training both morning and afternoon, with an option for group meals and private lessons if anyone wants them.

3) Our Thursday night classes for December and January are proving to be interesting from an instructor’s standpoint.

The most interesting class is the masters class. This past Thursday was mine to teach and Bud had provided four sequences.

I think the group was startled when I explained we were going to attempt to do all four sequences. For this group that means starting on time and little or no course-walking. I gave them 1-2 minutes to walk a sequence, then we ran it.

The last sequence of the four was the most challenging, but we spent about 15 minutes on each sequence and ended our class right on time. League play had good attendance Thursday night. I, once again,  managed to NQ Hazard’s run.

Sidebar:  Hazard is gaining confidence in the presence of big dogs and was REALLY ramped up Thursday night. We all laughed as she jumped up in the air in the middle of the dogwalk. It was all terribly exciting from the viewpoint of a little agility dog who had spent an hour hanging out in an ex-pen.

4) Our winter workshops run Dec. 13 and 27, Jan. 10 and 24, Feb. 7 and 28. 

I expected the Thursday night class to take some pressure off the Sunday afternoon workshops. Frankly they were getting too big for our taste and folks were not exhausted at the end of the 4-hour session. They should be exhausted, right?

This week has been a busy time for workshop registrations as well. I’d love to save 2-4 slots in the advanced workshop for folks who aren’t local. The 4-hour workshops are great for maximizing travel expense, and the cottage packages (including overnight stay and private lesson) make for a fun weekend with dogs.

In the meantime, today Mom and Janice and I are mixing cookies for the cookie exchange next weekend and we’re getting our first real snow of the season. I’ve got folks arriving this afternoon for an overnight stay in the red cottage, so I’m heading off through the snow with a load of firewood for the cottage’s woodburner.

We have propane furnaces in each cottage but one of our guests tonight is from North Carolina, and she’s going to find our 30s temps a little chilly, so I thought the woodburner would be an added comfort.

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